Years ago, before I was vegan, I hosted a Good Friday lunch for my boyfriend’s family. It took me hours to prepare the meal, and I was so excited to share my creations. Not long after they arrived my boyfriend’s brother asked: “Does this have meat in it?” I responded with an enquiring “yes”.
What my boyfriend (now husband) failed to tell me was that his family observed Lent, which meant they did not eat meat on Good Friday. As someone who didn’t grow up with this tradition, I was blindly unaware.
Later, especially after becoming vegan, I realised one vital lesson. Traditions can shape and mould us in preparation for living in the world. Our traditions are handed to us through family actions, behaviours and beliefs. Our parents teach us what they think is right, the foundations for how we should live as good citizens in the world.
What I also learned is that these traditions can be observed, reshaped and remoulded so we can continue living as the best citizens as we can be. When I made the decision to go vegan in 2012, it was through an inner analysis of how I was living at the time, and I yearend to be part of an even kinder world. How could I be a kinder person in the world, and build on what my family had already taught me? The traditions I upheld up until that point were those that allowed me permission to self-analyse. We can live by our traditions to the last detail, particularly during major celebrations, or we can start questioning if our traditions can be tweaked so we can live more aligned with our renewed values. This is how I arrived at the decision to travel the vegan road.
Easter is the perfect time to discover how our traditions can be tweaked. In Melbourne, it has been a tradition for businesses to close on Good Friday, and operate during reduced hours over the Easter weekend. In more recent years, I’ve seen businesses grasp the opportunity to reshape. Businesses are opening on Good Friday at an accelerated rate; something that my parents never dreamed of happening when they were children. This exemplifies the notion that individuals, and our wider communities, are open to reshaping traditions.
So, where in Melbourne can you enjoy vegan food (or at least give it a go if you’re not vegan) this Easter? While there’ll be a deluge of businesses open, here is a small list of I’ve curated for you where you can enjoy some of the best vegan food Melbourne has to offer. Each day over Easter is covered so why not make a journey out of it?
Thursday before Good Friday
Thursday night means the Easter weekend can start! So, why not start with Woking Amazing? Woking Amazing is a casual restaurant and bar in Collingwood with inside and outside dining. Their rotating menu offers innovative Asian street food using plant-based ingredients. For a special treat, Woking Amazing is cooking the meals at the launch of Leif Cocks’ book Finding Our Humanity on Thursday night before Good Friday (hosted by The Orangutan Project). The event is being held at Fitzroy Town Hall.
Full details for this event can be located here. You’ll need to book your tickets and food choices in advance.
You can also experience Woking Amazing outside this event at their Collingwood location. 358 Smith Street Collingwood Victoria Australia 3066. Phone: + 61 (0) 481 861 642.
Free pizza! Now that I have your attention, Good Love in St Kilda is giving out 500 slices of free vegan pizza on Good Friday between 11.00am and 2.00pm. This is to celebrate the launch of Good Love’s new winter menu. Good Love is St Kilda’s “hot new” vegan café, restaurant and bar, and has a delicious bar menu that’s cheap, too. Pull up at a booth and enjoy sharing the food love with friends.
56 Acland Street St Kilda Victoria Australia 3182. Phone: +61 3 3 9593 6539.
This is the traditional ‘business as usual’ day of the Easter calendar, so you’ll find a stack-load of businesses open in Melbourne on Easter Saturday albeit shortened hours in some cases. If you’re a local in Melbourne, why not choose a local business to support? You can find a long list of spots on my Aussie Vegan Directory to help you narrow down a choice.
If you want to take a trip back to nature, head to The Dandenongs. In particular, nestle into the village of Belgrave and grab a table at The Laughing Owl. The Laughing Owl is a “cafe with a conscience” that’s 100% vegetarian. There are many vegan options to choose from, not to mention gluten-free and raw choices. Their trading practices are “ethical”, right down to their coffee cups which are re-purposed glass jars with lids. It’s cosy, casual and there’s a cabinet full of sweet treats to choose from as well. It might be worth phoning ahead to book a table as it can get packed quickly.
1652 Burwood Highway Belgrave Victoria Australia 3160. Phone: +61 3 9754 2596. Open 10.00am to 3.00pm Easter Sunday.
A ‘one of a kind’ café in Melbourne’s north east, Power Plant Café is where you can get nourishing 100% plant-based breakfasts and lunches to enjoy in the sunlit dining room and under their shaded balcony. It might be a bit chilly for the balcony at this time of year, but who knows? Melbourne’s weather might just turn the sun on for you!
2-6 Swilk Street Templestowe Victoria Australia 3106. Phone: +61 3 8838 1282. Open 8.00am to 3.30pm Easter Monday.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this blog post are of Justine de Jonge at Fire & Tea. No payments and/or free products were received from the businesses mentioned in this blog post for the purpose of the themes expressed in this post.